Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetarian. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Optimum ThermoCook - Mini Review

Thanks to ThermoCook it's beginning to look like I'm redundant in my own kitchen!  Let me tell you about this truly amazing piece of kit; introducing the Optimum ThermoCook Professional Cooking Assistant!  When I was asked if I'd like a ThermoCook all of my own I almost fell off the chair; I mean this is  seriously an excellent state of the art piece of kitchen equipment.  It's not only stylish but it's smaller than I imagined it to be, which is great since our kitchen is really tiny.

Oh yes, the ThermoCook is a cooking lovers dream come true.  Of course it's not that I or anyone else can't cook, but the ThermoCook makes everything so much easier. 

There's so much I have to tell you but it would mean this post would go on forever, so I intend to write a series of posts covering the many different tasks the ThermoCook can do.  Even mashed potato is taken care of in under 18 minutes from start to finish - check out this creamy mash!

In fact, it would be far easier to tell what it can't do; for example it doesn't do the food shopping for you and nor does it put it away in the cupboards for you!
What it does do is make life so much easier and enables you to create smoothies and soups, it chops, sautes, stirs, kneads, steams and stews.  It can make yogurt, butter, rice (boiled or steamed) I've so far tried steamed rice and it was excellent) and porridge.

Think how your life will change with this fantastic machine that can make Jam, sauces, mayonnaise and dips and what about curry, bolognese, pasta dough, bread dough and even risotto.  The Optimum ThermoCook also keeps cooked food warm and can reheat food too.

Anyone into cooking will most probably heard of the Thermomix and although I've never used one, I have seen one in action and was really impressed.  The Optimum ThermoCook is just as fancy and can do just the same and MORE!
On yes, it has more built in functions than the Thermomix; take a look at the chart below comparing the two machines.  It's also worth noting that the Optimum ThermoCook has a DIY customisation feature which allows you to programme and record your own custom made setting for future use.

The ThermoCook is also fantastic for mums and dads who want to know exactly what goes into the food they feed their baby by making sure they use good quality products and that is will be healthy too as you control what goes into it.  The recipe book includes a section on Baby Food suitable for 3-4 month babies or 5-6 and 7-8 month babies.  Sadly I don't have any babies to try them out on! But I'm thinking that Corn Juice is sounding good, nice and healthy as does the Vegetable Puree and Banana Milk Puree.

The ThermoCook makes soup in just 20 minutes without the need to do any real chopping - just rough chop so the ingredients fit in the jug; for example you wouldn't put a whole stick of celery in or a whole carrot.

The recipe book that comes with the machine contains over 90 recipes but once you've had a play with it you can of course make your own recipes up as I did with this simple Curried Vegetable Soup.

Curried Vegetable Soup - Serves 4

Print Recipe

2 leeks
6 to 8 baby potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
a pinch of pepper and a pinch of sea salt
1 and a half Knorr vegetable stock cubes
500ml water

Use the ThermoCook jug with Chopping Blade.

  • Rough chop the leeks, potatoes and carrots and quarter the onion. 
  • Put all of the ingredients into the jug. 
  • Select QUICK SOUP - the ThermoCook will chop for 30 seconds and then automatically go on to cook your soup.  Your soup will be ready to serve in just 20 minutes.

Cleaning the ThermoCook is simple:
To wash the ThermoCook jug simply put a tiny amount of washing up liquid into the just along with enough hot water to cover the blade.
Pop the lid on and select PULSE for a couple of seconds. 
Remove the blade and the sealing ring, wash and dry before fitting hem back together.
Wash the jug in sudsy water remembering not to let the electrical connector get wet.

So what's in the box?

Blending Jug, Chopping Blade, Kneading Shaft, Mixing Tool, Bowl Lid, Measuring Cup, Cooking Basket, Spatula and a 2.6 litre Steamer with Lid and a Cooking Basket.


I already have the Optimum 9200A Next Generation Power Blender from Froothie UK and so I know what excellent build quality any Froothie products are.

Froothie are so sure that you will love the Optimum ThermoCook that they even offer a 30 day Money Back Guarantee; so you really can't go wrong.  Also at the time of writing if you order before Christmas you will get a massive £300 off meaning the Optimum ThermoCook could be in your kitchen for just £595
I say you will wonder how you ever coped in the kitchen without it.


Anyway, you can be sure I'll be back very soon with more on the Optimum ThermoCook and in the meanwhile please feel free to contact me (via the contacts page on this blog) with any questions you may have.

Disclosure: Froothie UK sent me the Optimum ThermoCook to use and review at home. I have not been paid for this post and was not required to give the ThermoCook a positive write up.  All opinions are my own.  Affiliate links included in this post.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheese Soup

With Autumn weather now full swing there's nothing like a nice bowl of steaming hot creamy soup.  Of course once the cauliflower has roasted this soup can be made in a saucepan and the blended with a stick blender but I prefer to use my Power Blender since there's no messing about with extra pots and gadgets, which means there's less to wash up!

If you've never roasted cauliflower before why haven't you?!  Roasting cauliflower gives it a delicious sweetness that tastes so good you'll wonder why you didn't try it before.

Roasting pan used is the ScanPan

The Froothie Optimum 9200 Power Blender even heats the soup too; so the whole thing from start to finish can be made using the blender alone.  Running on high speed the blades rotate 44,000 rpm which creates friction heat and the Optimum 9200 will raise the contents of the jug by 4 degrees every 30 seconds.  In order to make hot soup it has to be running for approximately 5 to 6 minutes depending on the amount of vegetables in the jug.  Check out my review - it really is a seriously amazing piece of kit and the build quality is second to none. 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Quick-n-Easy - Spicy Rice and Bean Feast

Along with a few other bloggers I was asked to join the Veetee Bloggers Community and to create a recipe using a pack of Veetee's rice. 

I don't know about you but sometimes I just want dinner to be something quick and easy.  So I've got a recipe for when; you're in a hurry and want something quick and filling but still on the healthy side. 

Of course it's so easy to just order a takeaway, but with Veetee's 'Heat and Eat' rice range (it takes just 2 minutes in the microwave) which is great, but you still need something else to go with it; so instead of a ready meal why not try my recipe? 

Veetee's range of ready cooked rices include not only Long Grain Rice but Basmati, Basmati and Wild Rice, New Orleans Style, Peri Peri and more. 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Meat-free Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet

We keep being told we're going to have a heat-wave here in the UK; but it has to be said I'm thinking they are perhaps talking about next year!  So with summer sadly not too on the summery side at the moment, how about trying my meat-free sausage and white bean cassoulet?  This easy one-pot meal is made with Quorn sausages which are high in protein and fibre but low in saturated fat this is a nice and filling but healthy kind of meal.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of Quorn sausages but their 'Chef's selection are far nicer than the regular ones and make a meat-free meal in next to no time.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Super Quick and Healthy Vegetable Sauce for Pasta

Some people may think that making your own sauce is just too much trouble but it really isn't and vegetable pasta sauce is a great way to get your family eating their 5-a-day too.
Shop bought pasta sauces often contain a lot of sugar and salt so this is also a great way to eat more healthily. 

My vegetable pasta sauce can be made in pretty much the time it takes to boil a saucepan of water and cook the pasta!  

To make it in super quick time, I used the Zyliss® Easy Pull manual food processor which allows you to chop food with ease and consistency.  Chopping, mixing, blending and pureeing easier and is convenient too with no need or fuss for electric tools and gadgets. 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Vegetarian Chinese-style Spicy Beef and Peppers made with Quorn

Although we're not vegetarians it is sometimes good to have a meat free dinner.  In any case Quorn is super quick to cook.

I must say the Quorn beef strips (sold frozen) are as I say, easy to cook but in my opinion actually taste more like tofu rather than beef; that said personally I much prefer the Quorn beef than the chicken.  I find Quorn chicken a bit dry.
This dish can be on the table in a matter of minutes and since you cook the beef strips from frozen my recipe really is a doddle to make and is really tasty.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen - Book Giveaway

Anyone, especially vegetarians and vegans will love this book; a sophisticated vegetarian cookbook with everything you need to feel at home in the kitchen, cooking in the most nourishing and delicious ways.

Amy Chaplin has a love for whole food and with her expertise as a chef has written a book to entice everyone to eat well every meal, every day. She provides all the knowhow for creating delicious, healthy dishes based on unprocessed, unrefined food - from the basics of good eating to preparing seasonal feasts all year round.

Part One; lays the foundation: how best to stock your cupboard. Not simply a list of ingredients and equipment, it provides real working knowledge of how and why to use ingredients, plus an arsenal of simple recipes for daily nourishment.

Part two; is a collection of recipes celebrating vegetarian cooking in its brightest, whole, most delectable form, with such vibrant dishes as black rice breakfast pudding with coconut and banana; fragrant aubergine curry with cardamom basmati rice, apricot chutney and lime raita; and honey vanilla bean ice cream with roasted plums and coconut crunch. Inspirational, healthy, sustainable and delicious - this is whole food cooking for everyone.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Carrot and Ginger Soup - Made using the Optimum 9200 Power Blender

When reading the Optimum 9200 Next Generation Power Blender could make hot soup by friction heat alone (caused by the fast spinning blades) my thinking was it would be lukewarm at best.  As it turns out I was wrong. 

Running on high speed the blades rotate 44,000 rpm which creates friction heat and the Optimum 9200 will raise the contents of the jug by 4 degrees every 30 seconds.  In order to make hot soup it has to be running for approximately 5 to 6 minutes depending on the amount of vegetables in the jug.   

Can you see the steam coming from my soup?!

Check out my review of the Optimum 9200 Power Blender - it is a seriously amazing blender.

Print Recipe

To make 2-3 bowls of soup you will need:
4 large carrots - peeled and cut into chunks
1 drop of Holy Lama ginger extract spice drops
100ml of vegetable stock made from half of a Knorr stock cube dissolved in boiling water (you can use chicken stock if you're not vegetarian)
a small pinch of sea salt and black pepper to taste

How to do it:
Throw the peeled and chopped carrots along with just 1 drop of Holy Lama Ginger Extract Spice Drops into your Optimum 9200 Power Blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds - you will need to use the tamper tool just so they don't get stuck.  Now add about 50ml of the hot stock.  Remove the tamper tool and pop on the lid.  Leave to blend for 5 to 6 minutes. 
Check the consistency and add more of the stock if you think it needs it.  Your soup should be nice and hot and ready to serve.  Have a taste and adjust the seasoning.

Take a look at the Official Optimum Next Generation 9200 website to see what else these power blenders can do.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Buying through my affiliate link will not cost you anything.  I will earn a small percentage from the sale.  I only endorse products that I use and love!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Butternut Squash Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Looking at the ingredients list at first glance this may seem like a bit too much faffing about for your liking, but let me tell you the result is so worth it.
Panch Phoran is a bland of a few simple spices and doesn't require grinding - the spices are kept whole so it can be made very easily in just one minute.  Fantastic to keep in the store cupboard and will make a huge difference to any Indian style curry you make. You can see in a previous post of mine just how easy it is to make Panch Phoran - also known as Indian Five-spice.

The butternut adds lovely vibrant colour and a slightly sweet taste to this richly spiced curry.  Be assured that the word 'spiced' does not actually mean this is extra hot (as in spicy) this is just a lovely warming delicious and very tasty curry.  That said if you do want it hotter just add more chilli.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut - Healthy Summer Eating

With all this lovely hot weather we're having at the moment (which I've no doubt will end very soon since I've mentioned it) it is most definitely BBQ weather.
As a change and feeling in a healthy eating kinda mood, I felt the need to cook quinoa.  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is marvelous stuff and although a little on the weird looking side, it is actually rather nice to eat and is good for you too.  That said, of course it does need some love to make it nice as alone it can be a bit tasteless.  But if you add a glug of oil (ha-ha) and some roasted veg along with a dollop of sun-dried tomato paste and it turns into a lovely thing indeed.

Now I have to admit to adding a little crumbled feta after this picture was taken but since I'm trying to come across all healthy and that - just don't tell anyone!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Mediterranean Vegetable Moussaka - National Vegetarian Week

As we all know the popular Greek dish moussaka traditionally uses lamb, but as it's the start of National Vegetarian week (19th May to 25th) I thought I'd give moussaka a go using just vegetables.  Let me tell you it was truly delicious and every bit as tasty.
To make slicing, peeling, chopping and measuring easier OXO Good Grips kindly sent me a lovely range of tools for the job.

First up this rather useful hand-held mandolin slicer enabled slicing potatoes into even slices a doddle. 

An aubergine was sliced and ready to cook in next to no time:

 The hand-head mandolin is easily adjusted by a simple slider on the side so you have a choice of three different thicknesses from approx 1mm to 5mm.  One thing I will say is personally I would have liked the slicer to have one more thicker setting than the max it has of about 5mm.  After use the blade is set to the lock position making it safe to store with the guard in place.

Next up, the Herb Mincer - a fantastic little gadget.  The top opens up to allow easy cleaning and it can go into the dishwasher if you wish.  Safe to use since your fingers aren't near the blade when using.  It chops herbs in seconds just by rolling back and forth and comes with a blade guard for safety when storing. 

 Scrubbing vegetables is once again made easy with this comfortable to hold Vegetable Brush - I didn't need to scrub my potatoes as I was about to peel them for this recipe.

 The OXO Good Grips Y-Peeler is the very fellow for this - nice thin slices means there's no wasted veg:

  How many times have you gone to measure out a teaspoons of spice from a jar to find your measuring spoon will not fit the jar?   These slim measuring spoons are brilliant and the teaspoon easily fits into these slim spice jars that many of us I'm sure have in our cupboards.

All in all each of these products are of good quality as always from OXO Good Grips and you can find out more over at the OXO Good Grips website.  All products shown above are dishwasher safe.

  Now with my recipe!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Chopped Salad with Mixed Beans and Lemon Dressing

Chopped salad will add a healthy and colourful side to many dishes and is great for serving alongside BBQ food or any other outdoor eating event.  Or, how about serving with a simple jacket potato?  A chopped salad will provide an easy stress free lunch. 
Of course you can add whatever you want to your salad - sweetcorn, celery, radishes, cooked and diced new potatoes and even leftover cooked chicken.  Just add what you want and leave out what you don't!

Also chopped salads are a great way to (perhaps) get the kids to eat mixed beans and other bits and bobs they might otherwise not want. 
A dressing of some sort is nice but of course it's up to you.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Rachel's Organic Greek Style Lemon Yogurt - Review

 If you haven't discovered these already, let me share with you - Rachel’s latest addition to the Greek Style range of Organic Bio-Live Yogurts.  
The new Lemon flavour is in our opinion, totally and utterly delicious.  Having been sent 6 large tubs to try I have to tell you they've gone - yes we seem to have eaten them all. 
Seriously creamy, smooth and very lemony with just the right amount of sweetness.

Is it wrong that I ate a whole tub to myself?!
Rachel's organic range contains the yogurt cultures Lactobacillus acidophilus & Bifidobacterium.
They are suitable for vegetarians too.
Typical values Per 100g
Energy 582kJ/139kcal
Fat 7.5g
of which saturates 4.7g
Carbohydrate 14.8g
of which sugars 14.3g
Protein 3.1g
Salt 0.1g

  I was pleased to see the whole of the packaging is suitable for recycling which is great stuff.  
Available now from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado priced at RRP £1.99 for a 450g pot.

Many thanks to Rachel's for sending me some to try.  
Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Family and Friends Mexican-themed Fun Night In

For a quick and easy meal, tacos or tortillas make a great dinner the whole family will enjoy.  But how about holding a Mexican-themed dinner party for family and friends?
Mexican food is vibrant, colourful and tasty and can mostly be prepared in advance.  There's no need for any fancy cooking equipment or amazing cooking skills, making it the ideal choice for a fun night in. 
Meat, Chicken or Vegetarian?
Minced beef, thinly sliced beef and chicken are all good choices.  For vegetarians or for anyone wanting to try to eat less meat, Old el Paso have a seriously great recipe for spicy bean and cheese vegetarian burger tacos – now how good do they sound?!   All you need is their Stand and Stuff Dinner kit which includes the spice mix.  To make the burgers you just need cheese, breadcrumbs, kidney beans and pinto beans, red and green bell pepper, an egg and some freshly chopped coriander.  Shredded lettuce is good for serving and the whole meal can be made in 20 minutes.

Another idea - Quesadillas:
Not only do they look good but they take minutes to make.
First prepare your ingredients, chopping and slicing. Pop a soft corn or flour tortilla into a really hot frying pan and top with your choice of filling.  Add another tortilla on top like a sandwich, turn to cook the other side and serve.

Tortillas, Tacos or Wraps?
A hard decision to make, purely because there are so many choices available in the supermarket these days!  Do you fancy crispy crunchy tortillas, flour tortillas, wholewheat tortillas or a lovely soft floury wrap?  Fajitas are great and of course you can make them really mild for anyone that’s not too keen on spice and kids love them.

Once you’ve made a choice, you can fill your tacos, tortillas or wraps with meat and vegetables or just veg. 

Salads and other bits and bobs:
Sliced bell peppers in any colour you fancy, onions, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and in my opinion, grated cheese as far as I'm concerned is a must!
 Dips, salsas, sour cream and guacamole can be bought from the shop ready prepared.

Tequila sunrise is great since it’s so colourful and of course you can make a non-alcoholic version for the kids using pineapple.  Or what about Mojito which always goes down well. 

Whatever you decide to serve, enjoy your relaxed night in!  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The French Market Cookbook - Review

The French Market Cookbook - Vegetarian Recipes from a Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier, creator of the award-winning food blog Chocolate and   
Image taken from the book purely for the purpose of this review.

Although Clotilde isn't a vegetarian she has chosen to eat less meat and fish and is always looking for new ways to cook.
  Each of the 90 recipes in this book take us through the seasons showcasing what's best on the market and in season at the time.

Image taken from the book purely for the purpose of this review. 

The Recipes:
I love that the recipes aren't all about pasta and cheese as I find with so many vegetarian recipes.  
Brilliant photography throughout with a wide range of appetizers, soups, savoury tarts, salads, main courses, sides, pastas through to sauces and dressings, desserts and cookies and cakes.

Just a couple of my many 'Must Makes' from the book!
 The Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Plums and Hazelnuts have to happen in my kitchen soon since they look delicious!  And I'm loving the pretty look of the Zucchini and Apricot Socca Tart.  Socca is a thin crepe made with chickpea flour then to use as a tart base the batter is made with less water then baked until set before finishing off under the grill.
Oh and then there's Melon and Ginger Soup - now this also has to be made as it sounds amazing!

 Image taken from the book purely for the purpose of this review. 

All in all:
Nothing looks too tricky to make and although Clotilde lives in France, looking through the book the ingredients seem to be readily available at any good market or supermarket.  
Personally I would recommend this book to anyone, vegetarian or not, since it's packed full of some truly mouthwatering and inspiring dishes that will capture any food lovers interest.

More About:
The French Market Cookbook is written by Clotilde Dusoulier and published by Random House Intl Potter.

  Many thanks to Mat at PGUK Publishers Group for sending me a copy to review.
All opinions and thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.  I only ever post reviews on products I like the look of, and therefore would buy myself.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Spicy Stuffed and Roasted Butternut Squash

This is so easy there really isn't any need for a recipe.  Sweet soft butternut with a nice spicy heat from the harissa paste - that alone is delicious, but add tomatoes and the salty tang of feta and you're in for a treat. 

 If you're cooking this for vegetarian's just make sure the feta is suitable.  The brand 'Yamas' is vegetarian.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Quick Easy and Healthy - Stir-fry is the Way to Go

 The Stellar 3000 Stir-fry/Wok:
Having been sent this (oh so very good-looking) wok from the Stellar cookware 3000 range to review, I got quite excited and had to make a stir-fry straight away.  I can't tell you how much I love this wok - available in lovely Ruby Red, Cream, or Black.
For me, shiny Ruby Red it had to be!

Everyone loves a stir-fry, they are so very easy to do and anyone can make one with just a few simple ingredients.
If you look in any good supermarket you'll find a huge range of ready chopped vegetables, with or without onion, with or without peppers, the list is endless.  They'll also have 'ready to wok' noodles and more stir-fry sauces to choose from than you can shake a stick at!
 Why is Stir-frying Healthy?
For a successful and healthy stir-fry you will need a good non-stick stir-fry pan or wok and then you'll find that you hardly need to use any oil.  Just a dab of oil wiped round the pan with a piece of kitchen paper and you're good to go.
The food will cook fast and vegetables will stay crisp and full of vitamins.
Of course, the only thing you need to pay attention to is the sauce you add to them since some will have high sugar levels.

 So, why am I loving the Stellar 3000 Wok so much?
 Well, it's non-stick, 28cm so it's a good size and it has two handles.
As it's manufactured from aluminium it is quick to heat up, which keeps vegetables nice and crisp.
The comfy-grip handles stay cool in use and the best bit, this wok can go into the oven too.  Oven-safe up to 180c makes it so versatile.
Stellar 3000 pans have Teflon Platinum Plus, a triple layer non stick coating with a raised textured base which means healthier cooking as you hardly need any oil.  As I've already said, just a dab of oil and a quick wipe round with a piece of kitchen paper does the job nicely.
Suitable for all hob types including induction.
Our favorite stir-fry is Chinese Vegetables in Brown Sauce
   For more information on Stellar products pop over to Stellar Cookware

Thank you to Pam and Stellar for sending me this to review.
All opinions and thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.  I only ever post reviews on products I like the look of, and therefore would buy myself.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Tabbouleh without Mint

Bulgur wheat is a good source of fibre which can help maintain a healthy digestive system.  A great alternative to rice and is used to make tabbouleh which is a lovely side dish for many things especially salmon.  
The even better news is it is so very easy to make too.... 
   Mint is usually a key ingredient in tabbouleh but I can't say I'm a fan unless it's chocolate chip and mint ice cream of course!  So since I don't like it I didn't put any in my tabbouleh but of course you can add as much or as little as you fancy - just use the leaves only, chop and stir in.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Southern Indian Vegetable Curry

On the back of a pack of curry leaves purchased from one of the UK's top supermarkets was this recipe 'Southern Indian Vegetable Curry with Curry Leaves'.  Quite liking the sound of it I gave it a go.

 However, it pays to know a tiny bit about cooking when following some of these 'back of packet' recipes as I find most are not very well written and they hardly ever work.
  This was no exception, just reading the recipe I decided that there was no way that raw cubed potatoes added to a curry would cook in under 15 minutes.  In reality they took a good hour or so!
No problem at least I was ready for this.
The original recipe didn't have anywhere near enough liquid or spices so I titivated it and the end result was actually very nice.
Since cooking this I've discovered Jamie Oliver has the same recipe in one of his books 'Jamie's Dinners' but at least he doesn't say how long it will take for the potatoes to cook - he just says cook until the potatoes are soft.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Gran Stead's Ginger Wine - Review

Non-alcoholic ginger wine, great for BBQ's and party's!  Prepared by the Knox family at Mile Oak farm in Sussex, England.

Both bottles contain no artificial preservatives.